Citizens Advice returns to Staple Hill

STAPLE Hill and Mangotsfield residents will be able to access free legal and financial advice again with the return of Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire to the area.

The charity closed its office in Staple Hill High Street in 2022 after a cut in its funding from South Gloucestershire Council.

But it is returning from July thanks to a £20,000 grant from Staple Hill & Mangotsfield Parish Council, which will enable it to hold weekly advice sessions at Page Community Association in Page Road.

The sessions will begin on July 5 and will be held every Friday from 10am to noon.

Until now the nearest face-to-face advice sessions were held at Emersons Green Village Hall on Thursdays from 10am to noon, to Lyde Green Community Centre, where they are held at the same time on Mondays, and at the charity’s Yate headquarters, where they are held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

Sessions are free, independent and confidential, hosted by a trained adviser and can cover anything from benefits, debt and housing to cost-of-living support, domestic abuse and employment issues. There is no need to book an appointment.

Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire chief executive Chantal Watts said: “Closing our office in Staple Hill due to funding constraints was a crushing blow to us as a charity and we’ve been keen to return to the area ever since.”

Parish council chair Ian Campbell said: “Ensuring we had a local touchpoint for the community was a top priority in our decision, and we hope the service proves to be successful and beneficial for residents in need of advice.”

The charity is reliant on grants and donations to fund the majority of its work, which also includes a free phone advice line on 0808 278 7947.

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Funding for the service was announced at the first annual parish meeting for Staple Hill & Mangotsfield, held at the Salvation Army centre in Broad Street on May 30.

Finance committee chair Irene Draper also confirmed that the parish council was providing £20,000 to pay for the area’s Christmas lights, which South Gloucestershire Council is no longer funding, £5,000 for youth service provision, £1,500 towards the area’s Local Nature Plan, £5,000 in grants for community organisations and £2,000 to support the annual Remembrance parade and service in Page Park in November.